By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Congratulations on winning a unique and difficult election campaign. You are now to become the 45th President of the United States and spokesman for the free world, all of it. May God be with you and bless you so that you may bless many others.
I voted for you. Your appeals to the 80 percent of Americans left behind economically over the past 30 years impressed me. I am convinced that your policies will benefit economically vulnerable groups, like blacks, Hispanics, young people, and women, more than those who practiced identity politics and mainly concern themselves with the affluent members of those same groups. Still, harsh language hurts and I am the only member of my own household to offer you a vote.
My prayer for you is that you will learn to listen, especially to your critics. The president’s job is undoable without the support of many, many helpers. God gave us two ears, but only one mouth, for a reason: Listen. Listen patiently. Listen until it hurts.
Start by listening to God. Begin and end the day in prayer in the privacy of your home. Pray for understanding; pray while you are eating; pray while you are working out; pray while you are deliberating; pray for those you do not understand; pray with your family. As president, the one person who you can always trust is God—look to Christ for your example; ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, protection, and peace.
Listen to those who have gone before you. Invite the living presidents to Camp David on a regular basis for quiet time and reflection. Ask their guidance; apply it when appropriate; gain their trust; and ask for their support.
Listen to other leaders. Invite the Mexican president to the White House as your first foreign visitor and ask his advice on how to deal with immigration and drug trafficking. Invite congressional leaders of both parties to meet with you on a regular basis and let them know that you want them to call you.
Listen to the American people. Appoint a diverse cabinet. Follow Reagan’s lead and delegate responsibility to leave time to focus on key priorities. Take Lincoln’s lead and invite your most able critics into your administration to learn from them and give them a reason to support you. Vanquish your enemies by making them your friends.
May God be with you and bless you so that you may bless many others.